Featured Pastel Artist: Sarah Pollock

Sarah Pollock began her artistic career as a color stylist for the Walt Disney Feature Animation. Sarah often works outdoors, directly on location, during the temperate seasons of the year. She also finds inspiration in the natural and urban scenes that she encounters while traveling throughout the United States.
She received numerous awards and her painting Homeless, Downtown DC received an Honorable Mention in the Pastel Journal’s “Pastel 100” competition in 2004. Over the past several years, Sarah has served as a board member for the Maryland Pastel Society and the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania where she teaches a class on color for beginning artists. She lives and works as a professional artist in the central Pennsylvania.
Sarah has a very nice blog and a website where she has a little story for almost all paintings.

Sarah Pollock

Artist’s Statement:
“I see the world with the volume turned up.
My pastel paintings are a visual diary of the people and places I observe throughout my travels. From the spectacular natural beauty surrounding my home in the central Pennsylvania mountains to the distinctive lights and personalities of cities, there’s nothing that I love more than using the vibrant medium of pastel to capture these locales and make them my own.
Light at the edge of day, near sunset or sundown, is most intriguing to me. I’m attracted to landscapes with dramatic angles, impressive skies, and natural bodies of water. In my cityscapes, I emphasize aspects of urban environments that may be overlooked as we rush through our daily routines. These paintings capture a range of subjects, from dynamic, down-the-street views to intimate portraits of anonymous individuals.”

Featured Pastel Artist: Alan Flattmann

Alan Flattmann was born in New Orleans and attended the John McCrady Art School there. Alan is an exceptional artist whose work is filled with the rich imagery of the world as he sees it. For me he is one of the greatest living pastel artists. With a keen sense of history and place, he has traveled the world with his pastels, ready to let the continuity of time, tradition, and landscape speak to his imagination. Though he has gained a considerable following for his paintings of Caribbian and Mediteranian landscapes and people, Flattmann always returns home to his native New Orleans and the French Quarter for renewed inspiration. His Franch Quarter Impressions reveal the artist’s continuing love affair with a place that has tempered his work and his view of the world.
In 2006, the PSA honored Alan’s outstanding art by inducting him into the PSA Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of the IAPS Master Circle Award and is the founder and current president of the Degas Pastel Society.
His work is the subject of three books, Alan Flattmann’s French Quarter Impressions (2002), The Art of Pastel Painting (1987-92) and The Poetic Realism of Alan Flattmann (1980). Check the preview of these Alan’s books. His work has also been featured in many major art publications and the latest I found is the cover page of the Best of America Pastel Artists Vol II. To see more of Alan’s work visit Bryant Gallery Website.

Featured Pastel Artist: Rita Kirkman

Rita Kirkman has been working with pastels since she was 10. She is a quick-sketch caricature artist and an award-winning pastelist and portrait painter. Rita got her Bachelor of Fine Arts at University of Dayton, OH, holds signature membership with PSA, and is a recipient of the Master Circle Award from the IAPS. When you will have an afternoon free, go check her website and a list of awards and recognitions. The latest success is honorable mention in the Pastel 100 competition. The vibrant colors and detailed strokes that make up her paintings bring to the viewer an unexpected emotional response. Those paintings featuring her children are especially sweet. Portraiture, wildlife and landscapes all benefit from the talented eye of this artist.
And… if you come across Rita at some show be nice to her and admire her work – she will soon hold a black belt in karate :).

“I’m constantly overwhelmed
by the simple beauty and uniqueness
of everyday life.
“I work to capture a moment or a feeling,
or to present an ordinary subject in a
new way.
“I want to hold the viewer a moment
longer with a sense of wonder, or
perhaps a bit of humor.
“Life is short and fast. I want to
slow down and see it.”
~Rita Kirkman

Rita’s blog

Featured Pastel Artist: Deborah Secor

If you are following this blog then you have heard many times about Deborah Secor. Deborah is a very resourceful artist and is always willing to share her knowledge.  Most recently, she published a free book about pastels in the form of a blog called Landscape Painting in Pastels.
Deborah received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art in 1979 and her work has been in many galleries and shows. She studied for several years with Master Pastelist Albert Handell, personally considering this to have been her ‘advanced degree’ work. Deborah is one of the founders and the first President of the Pastel Society of New Mexico and holds Signature Membership in the society. A regular contributor to The Artist’s Magazine, The Pastel Journal and other publications, Deborah has published two instructional DVDs devoted to pastels. The first, Get Started in Pastels: Deborah Secor Paints the Landscape (see preview) is one of the best selling DVDs released by F&W Media. Her second DVD is about Painting Outdoor Shadows in Pastel (see preview). As a regular contributor on the WetCanvas Soft Pastel forum, Deborah has made a numerous demos and tutorials. Some of the best are now available in The Soft Pastel Learning Center.

Since Deborah also works in gouache, besides her Art and Faith blog you can visit an additional blog solely dedicated to her gouache paintings.
More resources:
ArtistNetwork demo
PanPastel video (30 min)

Featured Pastel Artist: Alicia Sotherland

Alicia Sotherland is a self taught artist from Escondido, CA (USA) who began painting in 1999. Having been a child of an artists, she was surrounded by the world of art and encouraged when she would draw. However, Alicia never thought about being an artist until the fall in 1999 when she decided to make a career change. Having drawn mostly faces as a child, it seemed natural for her to begin with the portrait. By her own words “I was never told I should not start my painting career by doing portraits, so I approached my portraits without fear or preconceived ideas of how to paint or this is the way it must be done! I figured out basically what works best for me, and I did it that way.”
Alicia doesn’t use preliminary drawings, thumbnails or grids. All parts of the painting look connected, the background is part of the hair, the hair, part of the forehead and so on. Her paintings look very blurry with a couple of well chosen sharp edges.
Alicia has recently release four video clips where you can see her studio and watch her doing a portrait from a photo. I find the 3rd part to be the most informative and you can find it in my video collection.

Featured Pastel Artist: Mary Anne Cary

Mary Anne Cary

Mary Anne Cary is a soft pastel artist living in Maine. She has a BFA in Visual Design from Southeastern Massachusetts University and she has enjoyed a career as a Graphic Artist for more than 10 years. While raising a family, she continued to take art classes in various mediums, focusing mostly on pastel painting and black and white photography. With her children now grown, she is finding that the time is right to make a full-time commitment to her art, and she has discovered a passion for pastels.
Mary Anne finds the creative process to be both exciting and meditative. Her bold strokes and fresh pastel colors of grass and flowers give the feel of almost abstract painting. She draws her inspiration from the coastal beauty of Maine. Mary Anne’s work has been included in invitational and juried shows and you can follow Mary Anne’s work at her blog almost daily.

Featured Pastel Artist: Dianna Ponting


If you are a soft pastel artist it is very unlikely that you haven’t come across Dianna Ponting. Dianna is an award winning Canadian artist and lecturer who excels in soft pastels. She is an elected member of the Pastel Society of America and holds Senior Signature status in the Federation of Canadian Artists.
Dianna’s use of light, shadow and her ability to denote texture results in nothing less than a stunning art.
Dianna is an international artist and pastel instructor with students and patrons in both North America and Europe. If she comes close to your place don’t miss her. The list of workshops can be found on her website and you can join her Facebook fan page.
Dianna is a regular contributor to Wet Canvas and the first time I saw her work I was overwhelmed. Her ability to make realistic paintings is hard to match. You can try out her licorice candies lecture on Wetcanvas.

Featured Pastel Artist: Liz Haywood-Sullivan

Liz Haywood-Sullivan, PSA

Liz Haywood-Sullivan, PSA, is a traditional representational artist specializing in pastel landscapes. Her paintings are defined by strong contrast values and graphic compositions and often feature the interplay between man and the environment, with buildings, roads, and signs often working their way into her imagery. She spent 18 years in design and since 1996 she has worked as a professional pastel artist, art educator, and community arts organizer. She lives in Marshfield Hills, Massachusetts, USA along the New England coast where she finds much of her subject matter.

She teaches workshops nationally and internationally and you can find the schedule here. She is on the Executive Committee of the International Association of Pastel and is a vice president for the North River Arts Society. She holds Signature Memberships in the Pastel Society of America, Connecticut Pastel Society, Academic Artists of America, and the Pastel Painter’s Society of Cape Cod. Her paintings have been juried into numerous major national shows and have been featured in The Pastel Journal, American Artist, Southwest Art and American Art Collector magazines.

Featured pastel artist: Karen Margulis

With the New Year and as a start of this blog I’m starting to present some of the fine pastel artists I met on the internet. The first presented artist is Karen Margulis

Karen Margulis art
Karen Margulis art

Karen Margulis received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida but started to seriously paint in 2005. Since then she has been creating a daily painting and posting it to her blog every day. Karen estimates that by now she has used and covered about a mile of paper! She paints primarily in pastels.
Painting en plein air is her passion and she goes on location whenever she can. These outdoor painting experiences help give life to her studio work. She likes to finish a painting in one sitting so that she can capture that flash of inspiration which attracted her to the subject. Karen lives in Marietta, Georgia, USA, where you can attend her continuing classes and workshops and visit open studio.

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